When I started thinking about this article I couldn’t help but noticing how many professionals are already out there writing about the same things, “copy” “writing” what others wrote before and trying to rediscover things that others didn’t realise about before.
When we are selecting our leaders, a similar process takes place. Hundreds of CV’s now questionably screened by machines, picking up on those CV’s that better use key words and we end up with people that have same skills (at least in paper…), similar education and alike professional history.
So, how do we recognize a good leader? Or should I better ask how do I recognize a leader that is good for my company?
1. Good for your company now, but what about your future? Agile
There is inevitably a human tendency to identify familiarity. We often look for a leader that resembles the good leader that left or, on the contrary, someone totally opposite to the bad leader we let go. In either case we are looking for the skills we know work for our present companies. But do we look for the skills we need to take our company into our future?
Look for a leader that understands your present, has the audacity to break and disrupt you and aims for your future.
2. Is it all about motivation? Understanding
This one I can do with my eyes closed… Just go to the company’s page, click on values or vision, copy and paste… But can this person really understand how your organization breaths? Ask them how their previous organization made value. If they don’t not understand the company they left, they won’t understand yours.
A great leader starts by understanding the environment, people and what motivates them to act the way they do. “Then” they understand how to lead “these people in this particular situation”.
3. Are diversity & inclusion in your screening key words? change
Technology, technology, technology. Screening for leadership is like trying to make a logarithm to find love… However, we can try to narrow down the type of skills, capabilities and experiences that a leader must endure. In today’s environment and restless competition, the market forces us to enter into unknown areas and grounds and more often than not, to look for talent in unconventional places.
A great leader must be able to see opportunities and talent through a vast diversity of forms and styles. Leaders should also create environments were diversity and inclusion are welcome.
4. Now seriously, do you really want a leader? Alignment
This one is not for the leader but for you “company”. We are all looking for great leaders to help our business, however, is very difficult to help someone that doesn’t know what they want or even worse that doesn’t really want the help.
Many many times I’ve seen great leaders walk out of the same department over and over again. Senior Management insisting in putting great leaders in a department and then let them out to dry.
Great leaders are in organizations to create value. If a leader does not get the commitment from Senior Mgmt. they need, they know that the organization is not looking for a Leader but only someone to fill up the position.
5. Are you willing to invest in leadership? Leadership culture
Are you looking for a great leader to do your dirty work? That’s fine as long as you are willing to support your leader.
A great leader knows that you cannot blind the sun with one finger. If you really want to achieve sustainable results, every single structure in your organization must be aligned and transformed to nurture and support the change you want to achieve.
Leadership does not lie in just one person but rather in “one common vision”.
6. Can you feel me? Energy
As much as I like facts, tangible and measurable things, there are things that just escapes some boxes, like “Energy”.
We won’t enter into the discussion of “born leaders” or “made leaders…
However, is unquestionable that a great leader irradiates energy, is ready to roll up their sleeves and sparkle energy in others. If that person cannot connect with the people in the organization, is not the right leader for you.
7. A leader knows… Learning & Development
Last but not least, a great leader knows that he/she doesn’t know everything, continuously looks for opportunities to learn and relies on other’s expertise and guidance to achieve common goals.
If a leader can’t recognize and nurture the talent of others, ain’t a great leader…